If this is your first time owning a crested gecko, it is understandable for you to be a little confused or overwhelmed regarding what is the best way to feed a pet crested gecko.
Crested geckos are omnivorous. To be more specific, a crested gecko is both frugivorous – one who eats fruits and seeds – and insectivorous – one who eats insects.
So, naturally, the ideal diet for a crested gecko should include a good mix of fruits, seeds, nuts, and insects. Here’s how to feed your crested gecko.
Crested Gecko Diet In Captivity
In captivity, it becomes important for the pet owner to ensure that the food being fed to the crested gecko has a proper balance of all the nutrients required by it for proper health and functioning.
For instance, the ratio of calcium to phosphorus needs to be at least 2:1 or above. Any fluctuations in the balance of nutrients can lead to the crested gecko developing severe health issues.
It can get tricky for a new pet owner to be able to prepare a mix of insects and fruits for their crested gecko that has all the required nutrients in the required quantities.
There is a wide variety of options available for you to make a mix of food for your crested gecko.
However, if you are unable to figure out the ratios of each ingredient in order to have a proper balance of nutrients, it is highly recommended that you opt for commercially available prepared mixes for pet crested geckos.
These prepared mixes ensure that the nutrients are in the required proportions.
Crested Gecko Diet In The Wild
Crested geckos in the wild are frugivorous and insectivorous. They eat all kinds of fruits, nuts, and seeds that they can forage. Moreover, crested geckos also hunt crickets, roaches, beetles, and most worms.
In the wild, however, food scarcity is common. So, a crested gecko in a desperate situation will eat whatever it can find.
In very desperate times, a crested gecko, especially a male one, may even attack a hatchling or baby crested gecko. But that is rare. More often than not, crested geckos stick to their diet of fruits and insects even in the wild.
Crested Gecko Diet Basics
A crested gecko’s diet basics include:
- Ensuring that there is a clean supply of drinking water daily.
- Ensuring that it gets enough fiber to avoid constipation.
- Ensuring that the food morsel – fruit or insect – should be small enough to not get stuck in the digestive tract of the crested gecko, or else, it may suffer from impaction.
- Ensuring that the Calcium-to-Phosphorus ratio is at least 2:1 – deficiency in calcium can lead to the metabolic bone disorder, which can get fatal.
Crested Gecko Eating Schedule
The eating schedule of a crested gecko depends on its age.
While a baby crested gecko needs to be fed every day after its first shedding and molting, an adult crested gecko should be fed only 3 to 4 times a week.
Do Crested Geckos Need To Eat Every Day?
If you are new to the petkeeping of reptiles and crested geckos, in particular, you might be a little surprised when you notice that your crested gecko is not eating every day. But don’t be alarmed.
It isn’t uncommon for reptiles to only eat every other day. The same holds true for your crested gecko. You only need to feed it every other day – it does not eat every day.
The frequency of eating depends largely on the crested gecko’s age.
Hatchlings (0 to 2 months): they need to eat 6 to 7 times per week after their first molting.
Baby Juveniles (2 to 6 months): they need to eat 5 to 6 times per week.
Juveniles (6 to 12 months): they need to eat 4 to 5 times per week.
Sub-adults (12 to 18 months): their food consumption drops drastically to only 3 to 4 times per week.
Mature adults (18 months and above): they eat only 2 to 3 times per week.
Having a proper age-wise feeding schedule for your crested gecko and monitoring its weight regularly will allow you to adjust the feeding schedules and make dietary changes if required.
Do Crested Geckos Need Water?
Drinking water regularly is as important for your pet crested gecko as it is for you. Without proper consumption of water, your pet will run the risk of getting severely dehydrated and that will cause a lot of health problems.
Hydration is important for your crested gecko because:
- Low water intake can lead to constipation and impaction.
- Dehydration will make shedding difficult. And incomplete shedding can lead to necrosis, which can be fatal.
- Not hydrating properly will also make your crested gecko vulnerable to failure of internal organs.
How Long Can A Crested Gecko Go Without Eating?
Just like their frequency of eating, the tolerance of going without food also changes with crested geckos’ age.
However, when it comes to water, a crested gecko at any age can only go without water for a maximum of 3 days – and for the younger ones, the tolerance is even lower.
They are prone to getting severely dehydrated without a regular supply of water every day.
Hatchlings (0 to 2 months): hatchlings of crested geckos can go for only 2 to 3 days without eating after their first molting. Some crested gecko hatchlings may take up to 6 days, but it is advisable to consult a vet after the 3rd day.
Baby Juveniles (2 to 6 months): baby juveniles can go for a maximum of 5 days without eating, but it is advisable to consult the vet after 3 days.
Juveniles (6 to 12 months): juveniles have a slightly higher tolerance. They can go for up to a week without eating. However, it is advisable to consult a vet after the 5th consecutive day of not eating.
Sub-adults (12 to 18 months): they can go for 10 to 14 days without eating; however, you should consult the vet after a week of not eating.
Mature adults (18 months and above): as age increases, so does the crested gecko’s tolerance to going without food. A mature adult crested gecko can go for up to 3 weeks without eating. However, it is advisable to consult a vet after 2 consecutive weeks of not eating.
What Is A Crested Gecko’s Favorite Food?
Every crested gecko has a unique personality and set of likes and dislikes. So, there is no common answer to what a crested gecko’s favorite food might be.
But most crested geckos love live insects. Some of the staple (can be fed with every meal) and treat (should be limited to occasional feeding) insects are listed below:
Staple Feeder Insects
- Larvae of Black Soldier Flies
- Dubia Roaches
What Should I Not Feed My Crested Gecko?
There are certain foods that should not be given to your pet crested gecko in its diet as they can have long-term negative impacts on its health.
The leaves and skin of a cucumber can cause impaction in your crested gecko – this is a health condition in which the food ingested by your crested gecko gets stuck in its intestine and your pet is unable to pass it through its body via defecation.
Lettuce leaves can again lead to impaction if not given properly – and they don’t have enough nutritional value either.
So, it’s best to find alternatives to lettuce that have a good content of vitamin A and can be fed to your crested gecko without the risk of impaction.
Spinach is high in concentration of oxalic acid and should not be used in the diet of crested geckos.
This is because a higher concentration of oxalic acid or oxalates leads to an obstruction in the absorption of calcium in the body of crested geckos.
This leads to the deficiency of calcium in crested geckos and can lead to health conditions like metabolic bone disorder.
Ants should not be fed to your crested gecko as firstly they have almost no nutritional value, but also the stings or bites of ants can hurt your pet.
Baby Foods with Citric Acid
Baby foods with high content of citric acid or vitamin C should also be avoided.
Higher levels of acidity lead to poor digestion and gastrointestinal problems in crested geckos, and a high concentration of Vitamin C can cause diarrhea.
Citrus fruits have a higher concentration of oxalic acid and vitamin C.
High levels of oxalic acid in the body impede the absorption of calcium in the body of a crested gecko, leading to calcium deficiency and subsequent health conditions such as metabolic bone disorder or unviable, improperly calcified eggs while breeding.
Moreover, too much vitamin C in the diet of a crested gecko can lead to diarrhea.
So, it is always better to avoid citrus fruits altogether – the nutritional requirements of oxalic acid and vitamin C in the crested gecko’s body are fulfilled comfortably by other fruits that have lower concentrations of these substances.
Fruits With High Content Of Oxalic Acid
There are many non-citrus fruits that also have a very large content of oxalic acid – at least higher than what is required by a crested gecko.
Fruits like raspberries and dried fruits like walnuts, macadamia nuts, pistachios, almonds, and cashews are known to have high concentrations of oxalic acid.
These fruits should also be kept out of the diet plan of a crested gecko.
While avocados have a lower concentration of oxalic acid and are a good source of healthy fats, these should also be avoided when charting a diet plan for your pet crested gecko.
The reason behind this is the presence of a substance called persin – a fungicidal toxin – that can have an adverse effect on the health of crested geckos.
The research done till now has shown that not only is persin toxic to birds and crested geckos, but when ingested in large amounts, it can even lead to the death of your pet crested gecko.
Even rhubarb should be avoided due to the higher content of oxalic acid.
Even rhubarb in the diet can lead to obstructions in the absorption of calcium in the body, leading to calcium deficiency and related disorders and health conditions.
Tomato Fruit And Plant
Tomato fruit and plant are again very closely related to citrus fruits and must not be included in the diet of your pet crested gecko as it can have a negative impact on the long-term health of your pet.
Tomatoes are not native to the natural habitat of crested geckos, i.e., the rainforests of New Caledonia.
Moreover, owing to the higher acidity and unsuitable calcium-to-phosphorus ratio (less than 2:1), it’s best not to feed this fruit or its plant to your pet crested gecko.
Crested Gecko Meal Replacement Powders
Some of the most popular meal replacement powders for a crested gecko are listed below.
Pangea is one of the most popular brands available for crested geckos. It is available in many flavors and provides a great range of options to choose from.
An average 8-ounce pack will cost you about $15 and will last for several months because an adult crested gecko does not need to be fed every day.
Repashy is another well-known brand of crested gecko meal replacement powders available. It is on the higher end of rates, with a 2-ounce pack costing around $25.
Zoo-med crested gecko food is available in a combo pack of two 4-ounce jars at around $30. It is another well-known brand that provides a great range of options to choose from.
Pangea vs Repashy vs Zoo Med
The major advantage that Pangea has over the other 2 brands is that it is cheaper. However, the other two brands tend to have greater popularity and consumer rating.
All in all, though, these 3 brands provide complete nutrition to crested geckos and are available in different flavors – so your crested gecko will get to be healthy and nourished without having the same flavored food forever.
What Bugs Can Crested Geckos Eat?
- Dubia Roaches
These are some of the most commonly fed insects to crested geckos. Some of these are also a part of the diet of the crested geckos in the wilderness.
What Fruits Can Crested Geckos Eat?
These are some of the healthiest fruits for your crested gecko.
Crested Gecko Food Mix Vs Mixed Insects And Fruits
The major advantage of crested gecko food mix over a mix of insects and fruits is that in the commercially available food mix, there is a proper balance of nutrients.
When you manually go to make a mix of insects and fruits, if you do not have enough experience, you may cause a deficiency of some nutrients and an excess of some others – both of which can have problematic impacts on the health of your pet.
That is why, especially for beginner crested gecko pet owners, it is recommended to opt for available food mixes.
An additional advantage is that a food mix requires only a couple of minutes to prepare and has greater shelf life when compared to the ingredients and preparation of a mix of insects and fruits.
Can Crested Gecko Eat Bananas?
Can Crested Gecko Eat Wax Worms?
Can Crested Gecko Eat Strawberries?
Can Crested Gecko Eat Jalapenos?
No, crested geckos should not be given Jalapenos.
Can Crested Gecko Eat Mealworms?
Can Crested Gecko Eat Apples?
Can Crested Gecko Eat Kiwi?
Yes, crested geckos can eat small amounts of kiwis.. These fruits may have trace amounts of citric acid, which is harmful to crested geckos.
Can Crested Gecko Eat Applesauce?
Crested geckos can eat small amounts of applesauce only if it does not have any sugar or preservatives.
Can Crested Gecko Eat Grapes?
Can Crested Gecko Eat Superworms?
Can Crested Gecko Eat Hornworms?
Can Crested Gecko Eat Blueberries?
Can Crested Gecko Eat Dubia Roaches?
Can Crested Gecko Eat Oranges?
No, crested geckos cannot eat any citrus fruits such as oranges. Citric acid is toxic to them.
Can Crested Gecko Eat Baby Food?
Yes, crested geckos can eat small amounts of baby food provided it does not contain any citric acid or high amounts of sugar.
The feeding and dietary habits of a crested gecko are very important to know about, especially if this is your first time getting a pet crested gecko home.
You should ensure that you know very well which foods should be completely avoided, which can be given in moderation, and which can be given as regular meals.
Moreover, you should also consider using meal replacement powders if you are unsure of being able to prepare a properly balanced meal mix for your crested gecko.